Thursday, 09 April, 2020

United Nations chief asks G20 for 'war-time' plan in crisis

UN chief urges global ceasefire to help fight COVID-19 UN chief calls for immediate global ceasefire as coronavirus fire rages on
Deanna Wagner | 26 March, 2020, 13:55

Guterres called on the warring parties to pull back from hostilities, put aside mistrust and animosity and silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.

"The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war", he said in a brief speech at United Nations headquarters in NY, mentioning no country by name.

"This is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, to open precious windows for diplomacy, to bring hopes to places among the must vulnerable to COVID-19", he said.

"We need a much stronger coordination", said Guterres, adding he had written to the world's 20 largest economies (G20) and would join their virtual meeting later this week.

Meanwhile, calling the novel Coronavirus threat as an "enemy against humanity", the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief said that it is an unprecedented opportunity to come together as one against a common enemy.

For that reason, he calls for an immediate global cease-fire in all corners of the world.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland on 17 December 2019.

White House, Congress reach $2 trillion stimulus deal amid coronavirus concerns
The stimulus also beefs up unemployment insurance by increasing the maximum benefit by $600 per week for the next four months. Then the stimulus package will be sent to the House where it must pass before it can be signed into law by the president.

He pointed out that the health systems in war-ravaged countries have often reached the point of total collapse, while the few health workers who remain are also seen as targets.

"If the fighting goes on, we might have an absolutely devastating spreading of the epidemic".

The United Nations plans to launch a US$2 billion (NZ$3.52bn) humanitarian appeal on Wednesday to deal with the pandemic, including refugees and the displaced, he said.

He also encouraged countries to waive sanctions to allow delivery of food, health supplies, medical equipment and support for the COVID-19 crisis, saying: "This is the time for solidarity not exclusion".

He also stressed the responsibility of all nations to "recover better" from the pandemic and ensure that future development programs contribute to preserving the environment and addressing climate change.

The secretary-general said that given the need to keep countries afloat during this crisis, major industrial countries and organisations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will need to provide support in the developing word that would be equal to more than 10 per cent of GDP for those countries. The UN Spokesperson took to Twitter to furnish Guterres' statement on the global pandemic.